The Close of National Nutrition Month

From the responses I’ve had it seems like the last post resonated with a lot of you. We’ve all been there. A few years into the real world when we thought we’d have it all and we don’t...yet. But chin up, my friends, because every experience we have and every person we meet is for a reason! That’s my motto in life. As Ellie said to me, “you just have to keep opening yourself up to people even if it means you get punched in the heart a few times.” Never been wiser words said.  

 

Anyway, today I’m going a little lighter with a few things I’ve been loving lately to inspire you all to take simple, healthy actions for the last few days of National Nutrition Month!  

Fit in exercise anywhere! 

I joined BeachBody not for the name or the supplements. I actually don’t use any of the supplements because I believe in food first. But I LOVE the workouts. I’m doing Lift4 for the second time and this time around I’m doing each week twice and focusing on my form and going by feel. Last time I felt anxious tracking my weights so I’m not this round! Simple as that. And if I need to do triceps pushups on my knees then I do (yes, I always do).  

Find a group fitness class you love, try BeachBody, take the stairs, walk to work. Whatever gets your heart pumping and doesn’t feel like work, because we have enough of that in our lives.  

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Simple meals! 

I know I’ve mentioned Banza macaroni and cheese before. It’s a complete protein meaning it has all of the amino acids that your body needs. It’s also chock full of fiber so you may have some gas or increased regularity if you know what I mean...it’s so worth it, though! And honestly most of you probably aren’t eating enough fiber (I definitely do...). 

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Other quick meals I love are:

eggs with toast and fruit

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Sweet potato, chicken sausage, apple, onion, and goat cheese

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buddha bowl (any grain+ any protein+ all the veggies+ healthy fat) 

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Soda stream!

I get bored with regular water even though I love my Yeti. So now I drink bubbly water at home with my new toy and regular tap water at work. I have a habit of buying kitchen appliances when I’m sad (I bought a waffle maker when I didn’t get an internship and an Instant Pot when I was having a hard winter). But this appliance helps me stay hydrated and it’s such a fun color! 

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Living a healthier life shouldn’t be harder. So find simple ways to fit in more exercise, fruits and vegetables, and water! And remember these two things: 

1. What works for someone else may not work for you and that’s okay! 

2. It’s about making changes to your habits, your baseline. We’re all human and will have nights out, emotional eating, vacations, etc. It’s all about what you return to. 

Non-Scale Victories

I woke up this morning and felt great (could have been the after effects of drinking my favorite rose last night). I felt energized and strong and fit.


Then I stepped on the scale. No change. Still where I have been the last year. And yet I’ve been working out consistently for the last 67 days (although this week I slacked a bit). But still! Shouldn’t that count for something?! My mind kept racing. Maybe I wasn’t working out hard enough. Maybe I was eating too much out or too many desserts. Maybe I was having too much fun (aka drinking too much alcohol).

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There are pros and cons to weighing yourself. It shouldn’t be the only measurement without looking at other areas of your life and taking into account non-scale victories as BeachBody encourages. So here I am to walk you through my morning and how I turned my thinking around.


4:20 - Wake up and put on my workout clothes. Check myself out in the mirror thinking I look pretty darn good.


4:25 - Step on the scale and think how is that possible? Maybe it’s water weight from the wine...


4:30 - 5:00 - Do 30/60 minutes of Booty day. I was DRIPPING in sweat from the heat and knew I had to stop early to get ready for my trip. Feel lazy and defeated about not finishing my workout when I skipped Monday for a softball game and skipped Thursday to get my nails done (considered Thursday my day off). Life happens, Megan. Life happens.

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5:00 - 5:30 - Get ready for my trip. Shower, eat overnight oatmeal, and finish packing. Feel frustrated when I can’t download episodes of Shameless to my phone for the bus ride. 


6:00 - Call (why do we say that?!) a Lyft to go to the bus station.


6:15 - Feel SO strong carrying all my bags and choosing to take the stairs as I make my way to the bus terminal.



Stepping on the scale twisted my mood for the worst. When I talk to patients I encourage them to use the scale if it works for them. If you can step on it and be unphased by it and simply use it as a measurement and a means of accountability then go for it. If you’re like me and that tiny number can dictate how you feel that day then skip it and focus on non-scale victories. Those can include:


  • Feeling more energized. 
  • Enjoying your workouts and getting them done most of the time. Nobody is perfect.
  • Carrying/lifting heavy things.
  • Feeling your muscles burn and enjoying it (but they shouldn’t hurt).
  • Flexing your muscles and seeing progress.
  • Feeling confident.
  • Choosing nutritious foods more often because you treasure your body.

And please know that some weeks you can crush all of your workouts no problem and other weeks your body needs some slack. Go with the flow. Don’t try tthe be perfect but try your best to reach your goals.

Reflecting on Phase Two

About 2 ½ months ago I started Beach Body with some hesitation (with the name and the nutrition plans). And 50 days ago I started the 80 Day Obsession. Phase One was all about sticking with the workouts and finding ways to incorporate them into my routine. Phase two ended up being my “just hang on” phase for a number of reasons. As I begin phase three I find myself more energetic and motivated than I’ve felt in a long time and it’s a great feeling. So here I am reflecting on phase two. 

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First, it was HOT. Most days were humid with high temperatures. It was so gross and did not motivate me to workout at all but I still got it done. Although those days were likely not my best workouts. 

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I also traveled and had a lot going on. In the past few weeks I had to find an apartment for starting in September. That took a lot out of me but the good news is I won’t be homeless. And I also spent a chunk of time in Maine with my family where I didn’t have heavy weights but I did have motivation. My mom and I stuck to our workouts like the badasses we are. 

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The middle is always the hardest. It’s the lag. The beginning you’re all “let’s do this” and the end is “don’t give up.” But the middle is kind of like “will this ever end?” So yes I struggled a bit. Despite the challenges I finished every workout even if I had to move my rest days around some weeks. I also came to realize that the end of the 80 days is not an end because I’ve found my passion for exercising again! 

The significance of phase two was definitely the psychological gains. I’m up two pounds which normally would discourage me, but I walk with my head taller than ever before. I feel strong and capable in my workouts, at work, and in life. It’s an amazing feeling.  

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I haven’t lost any additional inches, either. Now maybe this is because I chose not to follow the meal plan because I believe life shouldn’t be that strict. Or maybe it’s because I could have pushed a bit harder. Either way I still feel stronger and I’m proud of myself for that. It’s the fact that I keep going and making healthier choices as best I can that matters. 

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 I have finally found a workout that I want to do each day! I genuinely look forward to {most of} the workouts. Some I dread...but not always. I also love that they’re so convenient. I never knew that I was not going to the gym because I just needed time to relax after work. Now I can come home, relax, and then workout when I’ve regained some energy. It works so well for me. 

Moving on to phase three I’m excited to continue to feel strong and energized and not just in my workouts. I’m also motivated to cut back on some empty calories like alcohol (I’ll save that for when I’m out with friends) and the treats (there’s a time and place...and I need to perfect my popsicles). Working out and eating healthier is only sustainable if you figure out how to make it align with your lifestyle and values and I feel like I finally did.  {Insert awkward dancing}

 

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Phase One Done

I finished Phase 1 of the BeachBody 80 Day Obsession. Truthfully I really enjoy the workouts and the ease of working out at home. I just made an investment in heavier weights so that I can keep going strong! In the meantime I wanted to share some things I’ve learned over the past month!


It’s about so much more than weight or measurements.

I haven’t lost any weight (maybe a pound but that could be any number of things). I’m down 3 inches in my arms and legs, but that’s not even the biggest success in my mind. I honestly don’t care much about these trackers. For me the goal was more energy. I have been so much more motivated to workout and cook dinner after work over the past month. It’s amazing what consistent exercise can do for your overall energy. As I’ve said before it’s about your health habits, not your weight!

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And then there’s my confidence level! My muscles feels stronger and overall more toned so I walk taller. This translates into more confidence at work and in my daily life. Im also stronger which makes me more confident in my ability to keep going with the program. I’ve learned I actually like push ups.


Cardio can mean so many other things besides running.

I used to feel like I had to go run for a certain number of miles for my workout to count. But that’s so not true. These workouts mimic jump roping a lot or up and down exercises (like burpees). I’ve also seen first hand that strength training is just as important as cardio. I think the hardest part for me was trying to plan a strength workout, but now I don’t have to! I simply do the workout that’s on the plan, it’s so much less stressful.


It’s SO IMPORTANT to make small goals.

This is the most important lesson of them all. One of the biggest qualms I have with BeachBody is that it recommends a lot of changes all at once which sets people up for failure. Not only do you exercise 6 days a week but you also have to meal prep and “diet.” Some people may argue that it’s not a diet program but there is emphasis around portion control, counting macronutrients, and limiting or eliminating certain foods. That’s a diet. End of rant.

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The key to success is small, measurable, and attainable goals. I’ve tried doing it all at once and it never works. So my mom gently reminded me to take my own advice of one goal at a time. A few months ago my main goal was to bring lunch to work 3-4 times per week. Sure I still worked out but I wasn’t trying to meet a goal so if I only sweat twice a week that was fine. My focus was on bringing more nutrient dense foods to work. After I found success with that, I worked at enjoying my evening treats (I love wine and chocolate). I don’t want to limit these items but when I want them I simply ask myself if this is what I really want or need. That way I am more aware of my choices which is all part of intuitive eating. And only then after I had worked on those two goals did I focus more on finding a workout routine that I enjoy and can do consistently.

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If I can leave you with one message from this post it’s to make small goals that you feel are achievable to build your confidence. Don’t look at what other people are doing because you never know if they’re struggling or if they’ll be able to maintain their goals. This is about you and your journey towards overall health. Start with one goal and only when you feel successful should you add in another one. Baby steps.